Under the hood of a modern car is very crowded these days.  It makes it difficult to see a lot of things. You know, in reality, fixing a car is relatively easy, but figuring out what to fix—well that is the dilemma.

So, here's a tool that comes from Snap-On Tools that can help save a ton of diagnostic labor. It's a boroscope. Now it has the ability to record video and take stills and so on. It can all be preserved in a memory card inside the unit. It also has the ability to come apart like this, and here you have the monitor that can be placed in a convenient spot, so the technician or the vehicle owner can see it. Now, we can take what we record there, and we can email to you, or preserve it in an office file; we can do all kinds of different things with it.

But the big thing is, we can look inside of places where we normally can't see without disassembling things. Now this 2.5 Toyota engine has 51,000 miles on it. This one is brand new. Now earlier, we put the probe down through a spark plug hole to look at the tops of the pistons in the two engines. The new one, naturally, is new, it's clean. But at 51,000 miles, this one has a lot of carbon build up on the top of the piston. That means that it needs a carbon depletion service for best fuel economy and performance. So it actually needs some service.

But, we can do a lot of other things with it. We remove the oil pan drain plug, let it drain, and then put the probe up into the oil pan and we can see if there's any sludge in there. We can also do the same thing under the valve cover inside many engines. We can go inside the car, up under the dash. For the heating and air conditioning system, there are bunch of little electric or vacuum motors that make all of this stuff work, to make the air come out where it's supposed to and give it the right temperature. Well with this, we can look up under there; we can push the button or turn the dial, and see if the motor responds. If it doesn't, we know what we're looking for.

So there are a thousand different uses for this. Just make sure that your technician has one, and uses it, because it can save many many hours of diagnostic labor. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line, right here, at MotorWeek.